Sunday, 27 November 2011

Information And Observations

      No.2 really jumped the gun when he asked No.6 why he resigned. The trouble was you see, No.6 had been regressed back to his childhood, and when No.2 put the question to No.6 "Why did you resign?" the boy No.6 had only just graduated from school, and hadn't done anything at all. In fact the boy No.6 was some years off from resigning his job!
    Peculiar is it not, how much sunglasses are made of in the village, all of different kinds, as you can observe for yourselves. But even more peculiar is the use of  tinted "safety glasses" worn by "Top Hat" administration officials, and some technicians. These "safety glasses" are even worn in the corridors of power of the Town Hall during that episode of The General. No.2 even wears safety glasses over his spectacles!
    The Kid in Living In Harmony is the fastest on the draw the Judge has ever seen. The trouble with the Kid is, that he has to keep proving it. Where as, the stranger, the man with no name - doesn't!
   The Kid may have out drawn the man with no name in that gun fight, but it was the man with no name who fired first!
   Will, who was gunned down by the Kid in the Silver Dollar Saloon, was a rancher, not a gun slinger. Oh he wore a hand gun, but the most he would have used his hand gun for would be to scare off Coyotes and the like, or to knock a nail into a fence post with the butt of the gun. But kill a man, no. Unless it was someone rustling his cattle!
    The Judge in Living In Harmony somehow puts me in mind of Judge Roy Bean. Well Judge Roy Bean had a thing about Lilly Langtry, and there's a picture of Lilly Langtry hanging on the wall in the Silver Dollar saloon. Not conclusive by any means, but just an observation.
    It's the allegorical which make the simplicity of the Prisoner so difficult for many to understand!
    A friend of mine would call it inexplicable, the way in which the members of the Committee of A Change of Mind, vacate the council chamber so instantly the lights are turned off and back on again in an instant! Perhaps the phrase is "the Butler did it" after all he was present in the council chamber at the time, and I don't know why that was either!
    And that cave with Rover in Free For All. Those men sat around wearing tinted "safety glasses" as Rover pulsates away, what is that all about? Perhaps Rover is indoctrinating them for something, who can say, certainly not I.
   And it's strange how that cave came to be, just off the Green Dome, and connected via a revolving wall and single steel door. Another one of those inexplicable moments of the Prisoner which will never be explained, and one which we simply have to accept, and put it in a box along with all the others.
    To end on a note of technology, in the episode of A B & C, we see that three reels of film are used. One is film footage of one of Engadines celebrated party's in Paris. The second is of A, the third is B. Now there is nothing remarkable about the film footage itself, but what about that film cassette? Film is shown reel to reel, as indeed are video cassettes, and music cassettes for that matter. But the three red cassettes containing the film footage are but one single film reel. So explain to me, any of you technoids out there, just how a single film reel cassette, like the ones we see in A B & C ,work.

I'm Piet Hein

Saturday, 29 October 2011

"All That Can Be Written About The Prisoner Has Been Written"

    Now that title is one hell of a statement to make, but it was made by one 'DL' several years back now, in another decade, another century in fact. But that was before new discoveries were made about the series by one David Stimpson, who for the time being is keeping those fresh discoveries to himself, and I can't say as I blame him. I can only hope that he gets around to having those new dicoveries published soon, as I'm aware of a large number of fans of the Prisoner who are waiting to read them.
    But there is another aspect to the Prisoner, questions which defy explanation, questions which will never be answered, no matter how much in-depth research is carried out into the subject. Questions which will forever remain a mystery. For example, that cave in Free For All, no not the Therapy Zone, the one in which No.6 stumbles into through that open steel door, which in turn is revealed by a revolving inner wall of the Green Dome. And just what are those men doing sitting round a "pulsating" Village Guardian, what is 'it' up to? And looking round the exterior of the Green Dome, just where is that cave situated?
    In a different situation, we have a retiring No.2 who is escaping the Village by helicopter. The question is, why does the helicopter turn back towrds the Village? Was it on order of the Supervisor in the Control Room? Or was it a voluntary action on the part of the ex-No.2 to have the helicopter pilot take him back to the Village? In a similar situation, we have Professor Jacob Seltzman escaping the Village by helicopter. Why doesn't No.2 act, and give the order that the helicopter pilot is to return his passenger to the Village? What's more, how does the Colonel know about No.1? Surely he could be a traitor, as one of  his predecessors, the Colonel of Many Happy Returns doesn't appear to know anything of the Village, or at least he feigns not to know what his ex-colleague is talking about! We can never be sure you see, that's the problem, and also what keeps us interested. It's not what we know, its what we don't know, and that leaves room for plenty more to write about the Prisoner. And scope, there is still scope to make more deductions, to theorise, debate, and to discover. I mean why does one man need such a large house as 1 Buckingham Place? Surely a single man would live in a flat! Who was living in that house at the time of filming the Prisoner? Who decided that that was the house for the Prisoner in the first place, is its location important to the character? Questions you see, but I don't have the answers!
I'm Piet Hein

Saturday, 22 October 2011


    It was once said of the Prisoner, that everything that can be written about the series, has been written. Well I'm not so sure about that, not even after these past fourty-four years. But it would seem that everything that has been written about THEPRIS6NER has been written, and perhaps even forgotten about. Because the 2009 series does appear to have been forgotten by the majority. So I thought it high time they were reminded, and perhaps might revisit the series, or if they failed to give THEPRIS6NER a fair trial, they might be tempted to give him a second chance. So here is the first in a series of articles which I wrote at the time of the British premier of THEPRISONER09.
I'm Piet Hein

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Death Is An Escape!

    The Village has two cemetaries, one on the beach, that can't be real, can it? The other is somewhere in the woods, yet there is no church in the Village! What's more there is no priest presiding over Cobb's funeral, just an Undertaker and a group of professional mourners, professional mourners because they could not all have possibly known Cobb, not like No.9 claimed to have done. In any case Cobb wasn't really dead. He hadn't really jumped out of that hospital window, that was just for the Prisoner's benefit. So that to the Prisoner, Cobb would be dead, much in the same way that to the rest of the world in Dance of the Dead No.6 would be dead!
    There being no body in the coffin at Cobb's funeral, makes me wonder if anyone is buried in that graveyard down on the beach at all! Because the sea comes in right up to the base of the cliffs. The sands move, and the waves wash away.
   It was said of Cobb, by a hospital orderly, that he jumped out of a window having committed suicide. If Cobb had, who would not be the last, for Nadia Rakovski-No.8 was questioned about whether she was attempting suicide during The Chimes of Big Ben, and tried it again by electrocution in the Interrogation Room that time.
   No.73 was another, but she did jump through a hospital window, but it was not the first time she had attempted suicide. 73 had tried that earlier by slashing her wrists! I don't know why 73 jumped through that hospital window. True No.2 had threatened her, he even approached her bed, but he had not physically harmed 73. In fact if you watch the film of that scene in Hammer Into Anvil, 73 doesn't throw herself out of the hospital window until No.6 suddenly bursts in on the scene! So the question is, who was it who put that bunch of daffodils on 73's grave? Surely Not No.6, but then who else was there in the Village who was close to 73 to have done it, her husband perhaps? No, he was still somewhere over there! Perhaps it was No.6 who laid flowers on 73's grave, who no doubt regretted her death, and possibly seeing seen himself as some sort of avenging Angel!

    The Rook in Checkmate saw death as being an escape. 'One day I'll die and beat you all' he told No.6. this idea is played out in THEPRIS6NER09, where suffering a Village death does mean escape, escape to that 'other place,' their former lives outside the Village. For people like 455, 909, 832, and 415 it means back to their life in New York. But what of the 'old man' 93, who suffers a Village death in Arrival? The Prisoner buries the old man whom he encounters in the first few minutes of Arrival in THEPRIS6NER09, and after the old man dies the Prisoner buries the body somewhere out there in the desert, or does he? Later in Arrival, a funeral is held for the old man 93, Two claiming that 93's body has been found, which is something Six refutes, having supposedly buried 93's body in the desert. But he didn't you see, because like at Cobb's funeral before him, 93's coffin is empty. 93, who is a representation of, if not actually the former No.6, suffered a Village death. The only question remains, to which former life did he return? To that in London as the Prisoner, or that of the former Village as No.6?
I'm Piet Hein

Friday, 19 August 2011

Where Do Your Sympathies Lie?

    Well I felt sorry for No.2 of A B & C, it wasn't his fault that No.14's drugged failed, it was hers, and perhaps that's where the Doctor-No.14's sympathies lay, with her patient No.6. After all, if she had told No.2 that No.6, while lying on the operating table, had opened his eyes and seen No.14, putting her on the wall screen, then the out-come might have been very different. In fact at the end No.14 seemed pleased that No.6 had succeeded!
    We don't see No.14 again, well not in the form of the doctor at least, but we do see No.2 again, when he's given a second term of office. Perhaps because it was seen not to be all his fault the failure of A B & C, and seeing as how with the General and Speedlearn, No.2 would not have direct contact with No.6, then he could not fail this second time. Well perhaps he would not have done, had it not been for No.6 poking his nose in where it wasn't wanted! In the end The General could not have been a worse disaster if it had tried. The discovery of a possible traitor in the Village. The destruction of a super computer. The death of the Professor, and that of No.12, although I'm not sure if No.12 was trying to be a hero in attempting to save the Professor's life, or clung onto the Professor in an act of suicide! Which do you think it was?
    There has always been a question hanging over the two episodes of A B & C and The General, the question of which of the episodes is suppose to appear before the other in the screening order of the Prisoner? During the opening sequnce of The General we hear No.2's voice in the opening dialogue tell the Prisoner 'I am the new Number Two,' which would suggest that the General does predate A B & C in the screening order, because in the opening dialogue No.2 tells the Prisoner 'I am Number Two.' meaning that he's been in the Village before. Yet in The General No.2 tells Madam Profssor that he and No.6 are old friends, suggesting that they have met before in the Village, putting The General before A B & C in the screening order.
    Am I sympathetic towards No.6's confinement in the Village? Well not really, because No.6 is too good to be true. He doesn't bend, not even a little, and if you don't bend, even ever so slightly, you'll break. But No.6 doesn't show any signs of breaking, well perhaps once did he show such a sign, towards the end of that episode with The Schizoid Man. But I found the way in which No.6 returned to his old self, via the short circuiting table lamp, a little too easy for me. All that conditioning carried out on No.6, so ealily undone, no I don't go for that myself. I know that's what happened in the episode, but I still don't have to accept it!
   Then one minute No.6 doesn't give a fig about the good citizens in the Village, as he likes to mind his own business, and expects other to mind theirs. He also prefers his own company to that of others, which is anti-social. Then before you know where we are, No.6 is coming to the rescue of the citizens of the Village, by stopping the assassination/execution of the retiring No.2 in It's Your Funeral, he wasn't minding his own business then was he? And so by the time of the next episode A Change of Mind, No.6 is back to his old self again, minding his own business, keeping himself to himself, none of which actually makes any sense!
   I don't like No.6. He uses people, gets what he wants from them, like Nadia-No.8. I'm not sure if he would even make a good next door neighbour!
I'm Piet Hein

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Who Is Flajack Charlie?

   Just who is Flapjack Charlie? Well obviously he's Curtis-No.12. During his conditioning No.6 states that flapjacks are his favourite dish. Well I can tell you this much, those which No.6 tucks into during his conditioning are not flapjacks, they are pancakes! Flapjacks are flat biscuits, what No.6 eats are pancakes made from batter cooked in a frying pan, and here in England are tossed in the frying pan on Shrove Tuesday!
   So did Curtis undergo plastic surgery? If he did it was very good. Other than that he would have to be an exact look-a-like for No.6, which he might have been, as we all have our doppleganger. It has also been suggested in the past by fans of the Prisoner that Curtis might have been a clone of No.6. But then such a contingency would have had to have been carried out at birth. Because a clone would first have had to have been created, then be allowed to grow and develop like any other human being. You just can't clone someone as an exact double of someone aged 38, it doesn't work like that, only in films. I recall how in The Boys From Brazil doctor Joseph Mengele tries to ressurrect Adolf Hitler through creating a number of clones. A number of boys are born, but only one of cloned boys has the traits of Adolf Hitler, and he turns the dogs on Mengele. So you see it would have had to have been a long process for the Village to have created a clone of No.6, it would have taken 38 years to get an exact double for No.6!
    On another matter, do you know how many No.2's actually took up office in the Prisoner? 32, and that includes No.6 being elected as the new No.2 in Free For All, along with each of the sub-divided No.2's of the Town Council! Is that what happens to past No.2's I wonder, they end up as brainwashed imbiciles, standing on the Town Council? If so No.6 had a lucky escape!
    Fans of the Prisoner have often asked the question, what if Clough Williams-Ellis of Portmeirion said no, you can't film here? In other words, what if Portmeirion was not available, for whatever reason? Perhaps somewhere different. Somewhere quiet. Somewhere exotic.................yes, a Butlins Holiday Camp, that's where! Certainly somewhere different. Yet not so quiet, and definately not in the least bit exotic! And that's official from a member of the production crew at the time.
    In the Cat & Mouse nighclub only non-alchoholic Gin, Whisky, and Vodka are sold. They look the same, taste the same. So the Village is teetotal, with a law of prohibition. And the Cat & Mouse nightclub a Temperance bar, serving only non-alcoholioc drinks. But no non-alcoholic beer or wines? Even Temperance bars had a drink which looked like a beer, made from a cordial, with raisins, and a secret ingrediant. It looked like a dark beer with a head on it. Me, I'll have a double, with no ice or water!
I'm Piet Hein

Friday, 29 July 2011

Map Of Your Village

   I have been making study of the Map of Your Village, as used in the 1960's television series the Prisoner, and I've noticed one or two things that do not quite sit right. Firstly the hospital, one of the most important buildings in the Village does not appear on any Map of Your Village! Yet, a building, which as far as I can tell is never used, that of the Palace of Fun, is marked on the map! Also, the Recreation Hall used in both episodes of The Chimes of Big Ben and The Schizoid Man is also not on the map. Could it be that the Recreation Hall stands in for what would have been the Palace of Fun - a place where you could gamble in the Casino, put on Amateur dramatics, musical concerts, exhibitions, and entertainment of all kinds - a place where citizens can go and enjoy themselves, that's according to the original brief on the Village.

    What's more, on the black and white map, none of the buildings are denoted by script, only on the colour map, which is technically no more detailed, yet larger and much more expensive. I have observed, in the past, how a black and white map has been reproduced which has text denoting all the major building in the Village. This is a mistake, and not accurate. In more recent years two attempts have been made to reproduce the colour Map of Your Village, once by one Roger Langely, and the second for the Prisoner part-work produced by De Agostini in 2004, a copy of both dwells within my collection. I much perfer the De Agostini Map of Your Village, because it's not been done in water colour like Langley's, who on the back of his map reproduction goes into great deal in describing just how he produced his Map of Your Village, which I have to say I found to be most tedious, and could see no reason for it. Best would it have been to just leave the back of the map blank, as in with the original.
   Back in the 1980's, when I first stayed as a guest at Portmeirion, I purchased a map of Your Village, a black and white one, which bore some resemblence to Portmeirion in some areas. On the back of that black and white map, is an ordinance survey map of the woodland area of Portmeirion which is very accurate indeed.
I'm Piet Hein

Friday, 15 July 2011

The Prisoner - A Form Of Escapism!

    No.6 wants what we all want escape! But I bet he would never have thought that there are those who want to escape to the Village, to have one taken out of oneself, in the name of escapism, even if only visually, not to experience the Village for real. Which is probably just as well, because not many of us would have survived many of the ordeals which the good citizens of the Village are put through each and everyday.
    I believe that there is a reality Prisoner game on the World wide Web, where you can create your own character in the Village, I'm not sure if the reality game still exists or not. But even then it's not the same as experiencing the Village first hand. So we are happy to sit in the comfort of our own home, and watch No.6 being put through the ringer, in the full and happy knwoledge that they are not doing it to us!
    No.6 was brought to the Village because 'they' wanted to know the reason behind his resignation. His predecessor Six, was brought to the Village because Two saw him as being his successor, in wanting to hand over the Village to him. That's perhaps how it could have been in the original series, each No.2 handing over the Village to his or her successor. But in both cases No.6 was seen to have a future with the Village.......I wonder what both their predecessor was like.........well you didn't think that No.6 of the original series was the first did you? After all the Village has been going for a very long time, since the war in fact, possibly before  the war, the only question is, which war!
    I have stayed at Portmeirion. I have followed in No.2's footsteps..........many say they have followed in No.6's footseps, or even those of Patrick McGoohan, but I like to be a little different. And if I was going to be anyone in the Village, it would have to be No.2. But would I be allowed to smoke my pipe? Few, if any people are seen actually smoking in the Village. No.6 is a smoker, yet only once do we see him smoking a cigarette, when he rolls his own cigarette in a cell in the Jailhouse in Living In Harmony. Some fans of the Prisoner believe No.6 rolls his own cigar in that cell in the Jailhouse, but it is a cigarette, because No.6 is using a brown liquorice paper! No,.24-Alison is also a smoker, as is Curtis of The Schizoid Man. Mrs Butterworth smokes Cigarilos which are a cross between a cigarette and a cigar, each comes with it's own holder, but there appears to be no pipe smokers in the Village...........pity.
I'm Piet Hein

Friday, 8 July 2011

Information - Information - Information!

      Information is the most valuable commodity on the planet, well apart from gold, platinum, silver......Information is one of the most valuable commodities on the planet.........there have been situations where a man's life may depend on a mere scrap of information, or money exchanged for the information on a micro film, or micro dot. But that was in the good bad old days of the Cold War...I don't think they use micro dots any more..........................The Village was keen on collecting information, information which was filed away in those grey filing cabinets we see during the opening sequence of the Prisoner. And talking of information, I understand that a Mini Moke used in the Prisoner has been found in my native country the Netherlands. That's really quite incredible. I thought that the Prisoner had no further surprises, that everything had been discoverd about it, with nothing else to find...........But I was wrong, as I would imagine many fans of the series were wrong, and surprised to read about such a discovery. Here is the is Mini Moke.
I can remember a time when the society of Six of One: The Prisoner Appreciation Society would have been the first to report such a discovery, the first to tell the story. But that was in the hayday of the society, which today is a mere shadow of it's former self. And HTL 709C has a story to tell. Of who purchasd it after the conclusion of the production of the Prisoner, and did that person then take it to Holland? Or was it sold a second time before crossing the English Channel? And how did it end up being left in a barn? The word barn suggests a farm, and judging by the state of the vehicle, it could have been used as a farm runabout, before being discarded in some quiet corner of a barn, as suggested by J.P.
But there is the promise of restoring the Mini Moke to it's former glory, and that is very pleasing. This particular Moke appeared in the Prisoner episode Living In Harmony. And perhaps one day, she might see a return to the Village, if indeed she was ever in the Village in the first place, on location I mean. Because when seen complete with her license plate, HLT 709C is being driven into the late 1800's American frontier Town of Harmony on a back lot at the MGM film studio, by No.2, David Bauer.
This is not particularly valuable information, but it is very exciting information to any fan of the Prisoner, reported on the World Wide Web, and probably before Six of One. Certaily it would be reported in their society magazine, but that does not reach the numbered membership it once did. Perhaps they will put it on their website, if they don't, they should do. And that's my point. Six of One once prided itself on gaining such information first, but that was before the advent of the Internet, where information is sent out there by the click of a mouse. And besides, to be able to gain such information, you had to be a member of the society, for such information rarely got out of the society itself. There used to be another society linked to the Prisoner, Once Upon A Time - previously the Sussex Group, a former breakaway group from Six of One. I have no idea if Once Upon A Time still exists today, I know there was a website linked to the society.......................I don't belong to any club or society. But I gain all the information on the matter of the Prisoner I need by a few clicks of a mouse, as do the vast majority of fans all around the wold. Perhaps they will read this piece of blog in the next few days.....I wonder if Patrick McGoohan would have joined a club? Certainly he was the honorary President of Six of One: The Prisoner Appreciation Society, although he never actually contributed anything to that society. I wonder if, after the passing of Patrick McGoohan, Six of One appointed a new honorary President? I shouldn't think so.
I'm Piet Hein.

Friday, 1 July 2011

What's He Banging On About Now?

       Over the years and decades of appreciation, for what is basically a television series that is the Prisoner, one would think, and you would in all probability be right in thinking, that everything that could be written about the series, has by now been written. But you would be wrong, as wrong as I was when only last night I sat watching Arrival. You see I observed something I had not previously noticed, not in all my years of watching the Prisoner television series. What I had observed was this............................. as the Prisoner mounted the steps onto the central Piazza, the Brass Band stand idly by at the Bandstand, yet the music of Strauss' Radetski March still played on! But of course the members of the Village Brass Band never actually played their brass musical intruments. Only the thump, thump, thump, of the big bass drum could be heard banging out across the Village.
    The Village is a place where people turn up. People who know too much, or too little. I find it quite perlexing to think that anyone who knew too little would one day, wake up to find him or herself in the Village.
    And what is it people do with their time, once they've found themselves citizens of the Village - what do they do all day? Well many citizens are found employment, as waiters and waitresses at both the Cafe and at the Old People's Home. There are gardeners, painters, postmen, milkmen. Maids, electricians, Observers, guardians, Adminitrators, members of the Town Council. Window cleaners, doctors and nurses, hospital orderlies, Psychiatrists, scientists. Storekeepers, newspaper reporters and photographers. Refuse collectors, farmers, workers at both the sewage plant and power station, not to mention the water works and reservoir, all without whom the Village would cease to operate.
   But what about those like No.6 who contribute nothing to the Village and it's community, what do they do all day and everyday? Well they can't spend their time ceaslessly trying to escape, because there can only be few ways to attempt an escape. And then once you've found that escape is not possible - well you can keep yourself fit in the gymnasium, fence, shoot, and even box, oh and there's Kosho. Go for a swim in the swimming pool {lido}, go water skiing. Play chess, go for long walks. Paint, draw, even model in clay. There are competitions, the Arts & Crafts Exhibition. The Village Festival, Appreciation Day. Exhibitions of mime, and folk music concerts. Amateur dramatics, a social club. The Cat & Mouse nightclub. The Palace of Fun. You can get yourself a degree in History. Build sandcastles on the beach. Sunbathe, the list of activites is endless.
     So everyone in the Village can either be fully employed, or at the very least, kept busy and entertained. Just the life eh! It's no wonder Thorpe wouldn't have minded a fourtnights leave there. Certainly Thorpe {of Many Happy Returns} would have made a good candidate for No.2, seeing as how he treated his ex-colleague {the prisoner} with scorn and disdain. But whether or not Thorpe is No.2 of Hammer Into Anvil is a matter for the individual. Because as I understand it, Patrick Cragill was of thr opinion that the roles he played, Thorpe and No.2, are supposed to be entirley different characters. Well that's fair enough, but as Thorpe had no real liking for his ex-colleague, perhaps he would have enjoyed having been seconded to the Village, to take up residence as a new No.2, to be given the oportunity to break No.6. Anyway, that's the feeling I get from Thorpe, that he has nothing but contempt for his ex-colleague and the story he has to tell the Colonel about his abduction, and the Village.
I'm Piet Hein

Friday, 24 June 2011

There Are No Second Chances!

    Just when did No.6 and No.24-Alison first meet I wonder? What was it that first brought them together? And how was it that No.6 and No.24-Alison, first realised that they shared a mental link - that they could reach each others minds? And you thought that there were no more questions to be asked of the Prisoner, not that they're ever likely to be answered, or have anyway of knowing. And speculation would seem to be pointless.
    If No.6 and Alison-No.24 came together through genuine circumstances, and by no contrivance of No.2, then No.2 obviously saw a situation which he could put to his own advantage, and thereby breaking No.6 and learning the reason behind the Prisoners resignation. All it would take would be to coerce No.24 into co-operating with the betrayal of No.6.
    Towards the end of The Schizoid Man episode, Alison told No.6 that she was ashamed of what she had done. And because she had realised that the man about to leave the Village by helicopter was No.6 and not Curtis, thus she wanted No.6 to know that its not often one gets a second chance, and that had she a second chance, Alison wouldn't do it again. Thus letting No.6 know that his secret, was safe with her.
   Now when No.6 told Alison-No.24 that there are no second chances, that wasn't quite right. There are second chances for those fortunate few, like No.2 of A B & C who was brought back to the Village for a second term of office in The General, which turned out all the worse for him. And there was No.2 of The Chimes of Big Ben, who was seen to be a good man, brought back to the Village for Once Upon A Time and Dregree Absolute, a one-to-one situation which ultimately cost him his life. And No.2 would have remained dead, had it not been for the advent of Fall Out!
I'm Piet Hein

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Its A Question Of Daffodils

  We know that No.73 was driven to suicide by No.73, she having jumped to her death through a hospital window at the beginning of Hammer Into Anvil. In 73's hospital room, there is a bunch of daffodils in a vase. Then later, when No.6 visits the graveyard, there is a buch of daffodils on 73's grave. Now I wonder who put those there? Originally, the script for Hammer Into Anvil, called for No.6 to visit the graveyard at the end of the episode, to lay a bunch of daffoil flowers on 73's grave. This scene was cut from he trasnmitted episode, but apparently not the daffodils placed on 73's grave which we do see in the transmitted episode.
    At the Ball in Dance of the Dead, No.2 offers No.6 a glass of undoctored wine, to which No.6 replies I rarely drink, and that would be right. Because No.6 might sniff the bouquet of the wine, but he does not tatse it. And that also goes for his role as Danger Man John Drake. Because Drake rarely drank as well. He would be given a drink, he might taste it, but rarely would he finish his drink. Perhaps that's because of the kind of work Drake did, often going behind both the Iron and Bamboo Curtains. Drake had to always have his wits about him at all times. Mind you, there are times when Drake would play the drunk, and on many occasions.
     Why is it I wonder..................................................sorry I was lighting my pipe just then, why it is that whenever there is a picture of No.6, either on the front page of The Tally Ho newspaper, on his card of identity, or election placards, No.6 is always depicted in civilian clothes, and not Village attire of piped blazer etc?
    The map drawn by No.6, and added to the amended wallet of the dead man washed up on the beach in Dance of the Dead, is completely useless, because it only has the four points of the compass, and no longitude or latitude. What's more No.6 has not even been able to name the sea! So if you can find the Village by using No.6's map, you're a better man than I am Gunga Din!
    No.13 is as unlucky as the number 7 is lucky, that's why the number does not appear in the Village.
    Amongst the most used numbers employed in the Village are 2, 8, 10, 12, 14, 22, 54, 113.
    Only one issue of The Tally Ho newspaper is dated, and that same issue is used for two episodes, A B & C and The Schizoid Man, in one because of the Headline 'Is No.2 Fit For further Term?' And in the other for the date Feb 10th.
    In Checkmate No.6 and the Rook-No.58 ask to see the Shopkeeper -No.99's books. Strange that his books have never been inspected before. Is that why we never see No.99 again after Checkmate, because of a discrepency in his books! Because at the end of Checkmate, No.2 states that they, meaning No.6's reliable men, will be placed back on the chessboard tomorow. However when No.6 goes into the General Store in following episode of Hammer Into Anvil to buy a small note book and a copy of The Tally Ho newspaper, there is a new shopkeeper! So what did they do to 99 I wonder? Perhaps they simply took him away for treatment, and he just never came back!
I'm Piet Hein

Friday, 10 June 2011

That No.6 Has a Radio Set!

    Tonight when the moon rises the whole world will turn to silver............ It's my opinion that the message heard transmitted over the radio No.6 was listening to, but seeing as how the radio was found in the pocket of the dead man on the beach in Dance of the Dead, was intended for him. Mind you, there's no real evidence that the transmitted message was intended for the dead man either. But then again if it was.........that would mean the dead man had somehow smuggled the pocket radio into the Village with him. Could No.34, for that is whom the dead man was, No.34 having been under the observation of No.240, but who had died, have been a plant in the Village? The transmitted message indicated that the appoinment could not be fulfilled, that other things had to be done that night. Perhaps No.34 was waiting for someone, someone to come and extract him out of the Village, or perhaps a group should have been on the way to the Village for whatever reason.  The dead man in the water, attacked and suffocated to death by the Village Guardian? Certainly if No.34 had been a plant in the Village, it might possibly have been something like John Drake of M9 having infiltrated Colony Three, somewhere behind the Iron Curtain. But then our side had a man in Section One, who helped get Drake out, unlike No.34 in the Village, who would appear to have come to a very nasty end.
    No.6 was seen to have a future with the Village. But he's still a pawn to be used in someone elses game. Such as in It's Your Funeral, when No.6 was used as a dupe in the plan to execute the retiring No.2. Without No.6, to give the plan credibility, without which the plan might backfire. But the plan did backfire! You would have thought that to involve No.6 in any plan would be tantamount to failure. And why is it that an interim No.2, an heir presumptive, doesn't have to use that over-sized, curved red telephone which two of his predecessors are forced to use in A B & C, The General, and Hammer Into Anvil?
    No.2 of Hammer Into Anvil believed that No.6 was a plant, sent to spy on them by their masters. No.6 had signed a note to XO4, an obvious code name, which is a precursor to the code names used in Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling - ZM73 and PR12. D6 was once thought by certain fans to be code for Drake 6. But no, that would surely be too obvious. Of course No.6 wasn't a plant. Nadia Rakovski was though, if that was indeed her name. She was a good agent, and no-one better to have planted in the Village. But what if No.2 in Hammer Into Anvil was actually right. What if No.6 is a plant, sent to test and spy on the Village and it's administration?
I'm Piet Hein

Friday, 3 June 2011

A Brave New Village

    It is not at all easy to sit here, quill in hand, and a blank sheet of paper upon the desk before me. Certainly not when hundreds upon hundred of articles must surely have been written on the subject of the Prisoner. Someone once said, I forget who it was, that everything that can be written about the Prisoner has been written. The trick is these days, is to try and come at the Prisoner from a different angle, and that is what scriptwrier Bill Gallagher successfully did with THEPRIS6NER. Although the 2009 series is not to everyone's taste, I believe there is much within the series that every fan of the Prisoner can appreciate, as there is much of the original series in the 2009 series. It's just been reinterpreted, or reinvented, what's more THEPRIS6NER is more sutble than the original series, you have to give it a chance that's all.
   With McG's series of the Prisoner you have so much to come to understand, so much is left to interpret, there is no one satisfactory conclusion, and questions have been left unanswered. Not so with Bill Gallagher's seires of THEPRIS6NER, because there are a series of clues to follow throughout the whole six episodes, and the first clue is in the opening scene. Follow the clues, put them all together, and by the end of the last episode Checkmate, you are left with no doubt at all of what THEPRIS6NER is all about. Even then I was left wanting more, to know what the new Two's Village would be like in the unconscious mind of 313. Would Six, the new Two, be able to find a better way? Would he be able to build a better Village? Or would he fall into the same trap as Two? Of course that is the driving pulse behind THEPRIS6NER, the handing over of the Village by Two to Six. Okay, with Bill Gallagher you know what his series is all about. It is not a remake. It was never intended to be a remake. And AMVtv never once described the series as a remake. and as I have stated the viewer is left in no doubt whatsoever what THEPRIS6NER is all about. Well you wouldn't want to be put through the ringer for a second time, not the way Patrick McGoohan did the first time...... would you?
    With the original series there could be 1,100 different interpretations of what the Prisoner is all about, and each one could be the genuine article. But with THEPRIS6NER there is nothing left to interpret. There are no unanswerd questions.........well you might think that, those of you who actually watched the series from the moment the Prisoner woke up in the desert somewhere, to the moment 313 shed a tear, as Six was imagining a brave new Village. Questions such as the old man, 93, whom the Prisoner helped, and who died out there in the desert. He was wearing an old style piped blazer, and as far as I can see, was the only citizen in the new Village to do so. Where did he come from, and where did he go having suffered a Village death, back to his former life in that 'other' place. Yes, but which 'other place,' which former life, in London or the former Village, to remain still a prisoner?
   Curtis and Helen esaped the Village. Originally Curtis and Helen volunteered for the Village experiment because they saw it as a way and means for them to have a child. But that child murdered his mother, then comitted suicide. Curtis and Helen, back in New York had lost their son. they are two broken people. And it is broken people who are subconsciously brought to the Village to be made better. So, would Six and 313 bring Curtis and Helen back to the Village to be made better? Now that's something to speculate over!
    Holes begin to appear in the Village everytime M2 is awake. To help stop the people of the Village panicing, citizens are encouraged to 'Keep A Pig,' because it is said that pig breath can stabilise the Village. But surely pigs dig holes themselves. They ruttle about for truffles with their snouts!
    And then there is the question of those pig masks........worn by members of 16's family towards the end of the episode of Harmony. The pig masks are worn in the American transmitted epsiode, but not in the United Kingdom transmission. Nor do the pig masks appear in the episode of Harmony in ITV's box set.....why is that?
    There are 'dreamers'in the Village, dreamers who dream and remember another place, other than the Village, New York in the case of 554 and Six. That is because those who are brought to the Village are living two existences, one in the Village, and in that 'other' place. But when living in that 'other' place, do they dream of the Village?
   So you see, there are some unanswered questions after all. there is something for everyone in THEPRIS6NER, if only those who poo-pooed the series in the first place, would now give the series a second chance. Even if THEPRIS6NER had left no unanswered questions whatsoever, the series is still a treat to watch, entertaining, somewhere to escape to.
I'm Piet Hein

Friday, 27 May 2011

Six Of One Half A Dozen Of The Other

    That's what they say ins't it, six of one, half a dozen of the other......well it's all the same to me. It's no skin off my nose why the Prisoner resigned, or indeed what it was he resigned from. Although I've come to think that the Prisoners resignation was brought about by the events of Fall Out. After all, in the ending of Fall Out do we not see the beginning of Arrival. In my end is my beginning, as T.S. Elliot wrote.
    It matters not one whit which side runs the Village. It doesn't matter who No.1 is, because if you don't know by this time you never will.
    I have never worn a piped blazer as No.6 does, I've never once had the inclination to do so. And for what it is worth, I've never been to the Italianate Village of Portmeirion. Mine has been something of a purist appreciation of the Prisoner. I've never desired any of the trappings which comes with the series, the books, pens, photographs, posters, mugs etc. But I do have the Prisoner on video and DVD, and cd series soundtrack which I enjoy listening to very much.
    What's more I never allowed myself to join any Prisoner related group or society. Many people have felt the need to join and connect with like minded people, they are the fans. They go to meetings and the Prisoner convention at Portmeirion. Oh I like to keep myself appraised of what's going on in the Village of the Prisoner, the fandom world. Some fans feel the need to off burden themselves, to put their ideas on what the Prisoner is upon others. I suppose I've done much the same with my own column from time to time. Every fan the world over has his or her own take on what the Prisoner means to them, and they'd be right. Ask one thousand people what the Prisoner means, and you'd get one thousand different answers, and each one would be right. Who would we be to say otherwise?
    And then there are the this fans who go that one step too far. There used to be this chap, I've no idea of he is still a fan of the Prisoner these days, as it was a good few years ago now. But this chap always 'talked Prisoner!' By this I mean if you were unfortunate to have engaged in conversation with this chap, he would always reply to you using dialogue, quotes, and speech from the Prisoner! But if this chap could find no rersponse in 'Prisoner talk,' he would say That would be telling! I don't think even Johnny Prisoner has gone that far!
    Mentioning Johnny Prisoner, he once told me that when he used to attend Prisoner conventions, there used to be this woman who brought a Thunderbird puppet with her to the conventions, that of Alan Tracy! Why? Well because the head of the puppet of Alan Tracy of Thunderbirds was actually modelled on Derren Nessbit of the episode It's Your Funeral, perfectly true. It's the lip you see, Derren Nesbitt has the perfect Thunderbird puppet lower lip! Not extreme enough? Well that's as may be, but this woman treated the puppet as though it were a real person!!!!!!!! They are the extremes of Prisoner appreciation.
    Of course now there is the 2009 series of THEPRISONER to appreciate, the series I watched on television, then went out and purchased the DVD box set of the series just as soon as it was available. And of course there is the cd soundtrack of the 2009 series, well there would have been if it were not for the fact that the cd soundtrack of THEPRISONER was not deleted from the sales list long before the series premiered in the United Kingdom, long before the DVD box set of the series went on sale! So now the cd soundtrack is only available in America and Switzerland!! But neverthe less I was fortunate to obtain a copy of the cd soundtrack of the 2009 seris of THEPRISONER. And as far as this series goes, it is most definately one for the purist, as the merchandise connected to THEPRISONER is based in America. Merchandise available over the World wide web yes, but not for me.
    The fan base for the 2009 series is in the minority. As for the majority of fans of the original series of the Prisoner, well they don't know what they are missing. For myself, well I'm just happy to be breathing in, breathing out...........more Village!
I'm Piet Hein

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The Prisoner - A Novelisation

    The first novelisation of the Prisoner, and of the same title, was by the American writer Thomas M. Disch in 1969. Disch's novel is loosely based on the 1960's series, but not really that exceptional in my opinion. However, having said that, Disch's novel the Prisoner has been re-printed on numerous occasions over the decades, on both sides of the Atlantic, and on the European continent, namely translated into French.
   I recall David Stimpson telling me once, that when he was young, and after the 1976 screening of the Prisoner in Great Britain, he was left with nothing to remind him of the series, save for his memories. But then in his local library he came across a hardback copy of Thomas M. Disch's the Prisoner. Although not directly linked to the actual series, the book was the only link David had. And so after taking the book out of the library once, and having returned the book to the library, immediately took it out again! This is the front cover of that book, for those who have not seen it, of which there cannot be that many fan's of the Prisoner who haven't.
    Eventually the book was returned to the library, and remained there. Because then David found a copy of Disch's book in paperback, published by New English Library, as seen below.
What follows are other guises in which this novel has been published over the decades.

The original American publication in 1969.                                                                                                                                               Then re-printed in hardback in more recent years in America.
And for the 25th anniversary of the Prisoner, Boxtree re-printed the novel in Great Britain.

The next reincarnation of Disch's novel, was in this Prisoner Omnibus published by Carlton Books, which also contains The Prisoner Who Is Number Two by David McDaniel, and The Prisoner - A Day In The Life by Hank Steine, and in my opinion the third novel is by far the best of the three, and McDaniel's the most outrageous! This Prisoner Omnibus was never a good seller. In fact withn a matter of months, I came across two large piles of this book in a discount book store, for the lowly price of 99 pence!                                                                                                              
Penguin Books next published the book, which I found to be something of a curious decision, when you consider the fact that Disch's Prisoner based novel has never been a best seller. And it makes it even worse when someone has written an excellent manuscript based on the Prisoner, and written in the style of the original series, which publishers reject time and time again. But who are perfectly prepared to re-print Prisoner based novels like this time and time again.
Again it was Penguin Books who reprinted Disch's novel just in time for the 2009 premier of THEPRISONER in Great Britain, and only a matter of weeks after their previous re-printing of the novel! This reprint even has a picture of Ian McKellen as Two on the front cover, why, when Disch's novel has nothing whatsoever to do with the 2009 series of THEPRISONER!
I'm Piet Hein

Friday, 6 May 2011


     I'm sitting here in my study, and playing on the cd player is the soundtrack to
. It's not everyone who can appreciate the music of this series, in fact there are many fans of the original series who cannot find any appreciation for the actual 2009 series, because it's perhaps too subtle than the soundtrack of the original series, which I also very much appreciate. I gained the cd from Switzerland, well it was either there, or America, as the soundtrack was not sold here in the United Kingdom.For some reason, the soundtrack was removed from the sales lists, long before the 2009 series of THEPRIS6NER received it's premier here. No-one seemed to want to give the soundtrack a chance! Anyway, I can appreciate it, even if no-one else can, and that is all that matters.
    At the end of the series, Six is quietly saying to himself, that perhaps there is a way, to make a better Village. In the former Two's Village, everyone's favourite food was presented in a wrap, and that was because M2's favourite food was in a wrap. If I were to create the Village in my subconscious, perhaps everyone would smoke a pipe, because I like to smoke a pipe.
    I was reading J.P's piece of blog from yesterday, in which he said that the 2009 series of THEPRIS6NER has revitalised his appreciation for the Prisoner, which was on the wane. That's something strange for Johnny Prisoner to admit to. For myself, I find   quite refreshing. It has a certain something which I cannot deny. There's soemehing dark and menacing in the way Two eats a cherry cake at the end of Arrival. Two projects an image of a kindly old man, who is loved by the citizens of the Village. A kindly old man who asks a schoolgirl-1,100 to pay him a visit at his residence Palais Two. Two discovered that 1,100 had been spying on him, but he held no grudge towards 1,100, save for the fact that he would have to send 1,100 to the Threapy Zone for treatment. But there was no rush, 1,100 could finish her ice cream first, said Two, projecting his image of being a kindly old man - but who didn't give 1,100 time to finish her ice cream before 'they' came for her, and took 1,100 away in a black Bedford van, leaving 1,100's ice cream cone lying in the sand. A black Bedford van, dark and menacing. Village transport is not what it once was. White Mini-Mokes with candy striped canopies.
    There are those who are taken to the Village, and those who are born of the Village. There are citizens who dream of another life, of another place, and like Six wish to go to the 'Other' place. But only those who are brought to the Village can go to the 'other place,' because those like Two and M2's son-11-12, do not physically exist, being born of the Village. For people born of the Village, Village is best for them. Yet for 11-12, the Village is no longer enough!
    Those who are brought to the Village, choose life, as they busy themselves making a new home. But Six chooses death, and if only Six has the faith to take that leap of faith...........................Sorry, I was just lighting my pipe.........because in the Village death is, as it was indicated in the original series, is an escape! The first person we see suffer a Village death, although we do not realise it at the time, is the old man, 93, who the Prisoner helps in the first episode of THEPRIS6NER, somewhere, out there, in the desert.
   The old man 93, wore an old style of Village piped blazer. I have seen no-one else in the new Village to wear such a jacket. Indeed 93 is the former No.6 of the original series, if not exact, then a representation of the former No.6 who dies, suffers a Village death, to return to the 'other' place, and that of his former life. The only question, indeed mystery, is to which former life did 93 return? In 93's apartment, the Prisoner, now Six, finds a sketch drawn by 93. It is of St. Stephen's Tower of the Houses of Parliament in London. St. Stephens Tower which houses the bell of Big Ben, which would suggest that 93 was returned to his former life in London. A waitress at the Solar Cafe 554, also had a sketch, drawn from a recurring dream she had been having. 554's sketch was of the Statue of Liberty. When 554 was seen to be getting too close to Six, Two had 554 killed in an explosion which tore the Solar Cafe to pieces, in which 544 died, suffering a Village death and was returned to her 'other' life in New York. If that is the case with 93, who was wearing an old style of black blazer with off-white piping, that suggests to me that when 93 died a Village death, that he did not return to his 'other' life in London, but to that of the former Village of the original series!
    Many people the world over enjoy watching television soap operas. In the Village they have a Village soap opera about life in the Village - it's called Wonkers, and what's more it's also a novelisation, published by Village Books.
    There are those like Six who want to escape the Village. But there is no escape, because there is nothing to escape from! Then on the other hand, there are those citizens like 313 who do not want to escape, having no desire to return to her 'other' life, where she was abused as a child. Made to stand still with a cardboard box on her head by her father. And in that, we discover why 313 was brought to the Village, why she was a broken person in need of making better. While on the other hand, Six was brought to the Village because he resigned his job from Summakor. And why did he resign? Because he found out what it was he was doing for Summakor, and his own involvement with the Village before his abduction there..........................
I'm Piet Hein

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Not A Number - Partick McGoohan A Life

   I'm not really a fan of Patrick McGoohan, although of both Danger Man & the Prisoner, and I have enjoyed some of his early films, namely Hell Drivers for one. So really I'm not likely to actually buy a copy of the latest biography on the life of Patrick McGoohan by Rupert Booth.
   I have read one review of the book, but it neither said anything of the real content of the biography, apart from McGoohan being a secretive man, one of contradictions. Being a Catholic, and an inquisitive man, who avoids convention. Suggesting that by the 1970's McGoohan was an alcoholic, having used booze to escape stress, well who hasn't? Also mentioned in the review are what actresses Annette Andre and Angela Browne had to say about McGoohan when they worked with him on the Prisoner, but then I can find other sources to read what professional people have to say about Patrick McGoohan. I wonder how deeply Rupert Booth has delved into the private life of the 'late' Patrick McGoohan? Did he for example contact McGoohan's widow and family for example, or any of McGoohan's personal friends? Somehow I seriously doubt it, although I could be wrong. But somehow I doubt very much that I'll be purchasing this book, as I have no desire to read a book that might simply revolve around McGoohan's professional life.
If you, who may read this, have read this book, perhaps you might wish to post your feelings on this book. I'm Piet Hein                                                                                   

Sunday, 17 April 2011

The Outsider

   The Outsider is an unused script for the Prisoner written by Moris Farhi. The script opens with the early morning sunshine and No.6 acting in the most peculiar way. He's on top of the cliffs, measuring the edge with a length of string with hooks at both ends. Then jots the measurement down in a notebook. There is a heading in the notebook cliffs West and below that the figure of a segment of geological map is taking shape. And beach area 18 along with a completed map of the particuliar scale 1:1000 and suddenly there is a drone of an aircraft!
    No.6 reacts instantly at hearing the drone of the aircraft which instantly reaches a deafening crescendo. He cups his ears whilst trying to spot the aircraft, then the drone cuts out, instead a whistling whine, and an explosion tears the air. There is a gyser of smoke and fire shoots up in the distance. No.6 pockets his notebook and runs in the direction of the column of smoke, zig zagging through the trees. He finds the pilot who ejected before the aircraft impacted with the ground.
   Finding the pilot, who's first instinct is to go for his gun, but then thinks better of it seeing as how the approaching figure is unarned. He addresses No.6 in some indistinct language, a cross between Latin and Nordic. No.6 asks the pilot if he is the only one, but there comes no reply. He asks if the pilot speaks English, there is a moments hesitation, then his English is perfect and accentless. A brief conversation breaks out between the two. The pilot works for an outfit the Meteorological Bureau weather observation. He saw the seaside town....He asks if No.6 is a Forester?
No.6 "No,"
Pilot "A Gamekeeper?"
"No, a Prisoner."
"Aren't we all? On parole?"
"No.6 examines the parachute
Pilot "A Goverment issue!"
"What Governement?"
"How many have you got?"
"Hows the leg?"
"I'll survive."
   No.6 manages to get the pilot into a cave, it's mouth well camouflaged with undergrowth and foliage. Inside No.6 checks the walls for hidden surveillance, there is none. The cave is only home to bats who reside there. The pilot has a survival kit, compass, which No.6 istantly sees as being useful, along with a map. The map depicts the southern tip of America, Argentina, Chile, and the Falklands. Although the pilot is injured, No.6 ties him up in the cave, the pilot referring to himself as the Prisoner's Prisoner!
   During opening exchanges within the cave, the two men engage in a cat-and-mouse game about the supposed location of the village. The map found on the pilot suggests South America, perhaps even the Falklands Islands. Yet No.6 dismisses this theory by referrence to the stars and especially the Great Bear, which cannot be seen from the Southern Hemisphere. After this strange sparring, there is the odd scene in which the back of the pilots map is rubbed on the wall of the cave to reveal a secret chart, the location in The Chimes of Big Ben. This was also the area identified as the Village's location in that particular episode. It is possible that the area of the Baltic was intended to have been the original location for the village, behind the Iron Curtain.
     The story line then unfolds with No.6 determined to use the pilot to concoct an escape plan. And the main village action of the script concerns a game of poker between No.2 and No.6, No.6's chair having been wired to a lie detector on the Control Room. But No.6 spots the wire and thereby spoiling No.2's plan. But this is a most interesting premise, the village could have probed No.6 for information about the crashed aircraft, and certainly about the whereabouts of the missing pilot. This under the guise of monitoring No.6's responses in a harmless conversation during the poker game.
    Then the action moves to the Palace of Fun which is never used or even mentioned in any of the 17 episodes of the Prisoner, although it appears on the Map of Your Village. In the Palace of Fun No.6 visits No.2 in the thermal baths. But No.2 confronts No.6 about the whereabouts of the pilot. No.6 refuses to give any such information away, and is duly taken away to the hospital where he is subjected to five hours of torture in a 'Non-gravitational chamber.' This torture would have involved in No.6 being left weightless and subjected to extreme temperatures, loud noises and psychedelic lighting effects.
    The climax of the story involves an intriguing plot which called for a helicopter to rescue the pilot using a transmitter beacon hidden in the pilots flying suit. The transmitter having been activated and hidden as a crafty decoy, while No.6 lights a bonfire on the hillside. However this would have been another decoy as No.6 and the pilot signal the helicopter by lamp from the beach.
    No.83, mysteriously turns up on the beach and joins No.6 and the pilot. No.83 who is said to be an Undergraduate who is studying for her exams, and who has been assigned to No.6, who he rejected in the Palace of Fun.
    No.83 "I've been searching for you, it is my duty to please you...then I saw him" pointing to the pilot.
    Pilot "I was outside looking for you, and there she was." Imitating 83's voice "I have come to please you! "What is she, mad?"
    83 "A pleasure hostess!" she says proudly.
{This is the first insinuation of sex in the village}
    But the piloit isn't keen on taking the girl with them, in fact he wants to kill her, having taken out his gun. She's happy here, our world won't make her happy. And even No.83 wants to be killed.
    "Please....I'm so happy. Yes kill me! Kill me. Please don't take me..."
    But No.6 is adamant that the girl goes with them. So the beacon on the beach is lit, a signal transmitted, and a helicopter despatched  to make the rescue of the pilot, all carefully observed by No.2 and the Supervisor in the Control Room. In fact the plan for the escape would have succeeded if only No.6 had not drunk the cup of drugged coffee!
    It had all been one of No.2's little games. the pilot hadn't crashed at all, that had been staged, an explosion, the plane wreckage scattered about. The pilots broken ankle, the cyanide capsule....all psychological warfare. The village never does anything by half measures!
    No.6 "I guessed as much. But one musn't pass any chances. Good training. Was it worth your while?"
Pilot "Indeed. It should convince you there is no-one you can trust, no-one can help you. There is no-way out."
    This after No.6 has awakened in the Georgian residence of No.2 who offers him tea. The pilot is the new No.2. After a short interview No.6 leaves the Georgian residence. Around him the village is coming to life. He starts walking towards his cottage, a man unbroken. The camera moves to an aerial panoramic view of the village. Two prison gates suddenly clang shut in the foreground. In the centre of the screen we see a white dot coming at us like a bullet. It is the face of the Prisoner. It stops just behind the fade out.

    There is no indication why this script was rejected. Indeed information has it that The Outsider was to have gone into production in January 1967. Moris Farhi was only told by Script Editor George Markstein at the very last minute that the proposed episode had been dropped. This on the word of Patrick McGoohan, on the premise that heros do not birdwatch. The script called for No.6 to observe the migratory birds so as to assertain which part of the world the village might be. And during the torture scene of extreme temperatures, this would cause No.6 to sweat. As McGoohan thought it to be, heros don't sweat!
   To my mind The Outsider would have made one of the strongest scripts of the Prisoner series. A pity that it was not included.

I'm Piet Hein

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Don't Get Yourself Killed!

Don't Get Yourself Killed is one of two unused script for the Prisoner, written by Gerald Kelsey. A brief synopsis would run as that No.6 encounters the Escape Committee, which consists of a group of villagers who claim the right to vet all escape attempts, much like the escape committees of WWII Prisoner of War camps. No.6 initially shuns them, but is then coerced into joining them.
    Through his meeting with a member of the Escape Committee known as 'the Miner,' who appears to be attempting to dig his way out of the village, No.6 concocts an escape plan which involves the Miner and an oddball of the villages administration referred to as 'HOF', the head of Facility of the Environmental Adjustment Department. It is this bizarre figure who is responsible for the loudspeaker 're-educational lectures' which flood the village, forcing residents to repeat, parrot fashion, nonsensical slogans like "Individuality is the expression of revolt against the Community" as they go about their daily business.
    The plot requires the 'HOF' to defy No.2's orders and bring No.6 in for conditiong when he observes that No.6 is refusing to take part in a lecture. A sequence in which No.6 is brought into the facility on a travelator device, like a parcel mechanically handled in a conveyor.
   No.6 refuses to co-operate with the 'HOF' and later, somewhat unconvincingly, who suddenly declares an interest in joing No.6 and the Miner in an escape attempt, provided that he is paid for his help. As it happens, the Miner has discovered gold in his tunnel and No.6 offers to pay the 'HOF in gold ore.
   Between the three of them, they concoct an escape plan which involves stealing a helicopter from the village's Helicopter Service Depot, but the plot is foiled at the very last moment, thanks to greed of the miner who refuses to take off without his sack of gold.
    Curiously the script of Don't Get Yourself Killed has the grand looking Georgian house as the residence of No.2. This would have been Portmeirion's pink and white Unicorn cottage, which was originally intended for No2's residence, and not the Green Dome. But there was trouble with the the undergrowth, and the large pair of wrought iron gates getting in the way of camera angles. Also there was supposed to have been a gold mine at Portmeirion at the back of the Hotel. However the idea of a 'Helicopter Service Depot' seems ridiculous, and to be able to actually steal a helicopter suggests very lax security.And for there to have been an actual escape committee, surely that would have been stamped out as soon as one had been formed! Yet thinking about it, there are 'Jammers' in the village, as described in the episode It's Your Funeral, but I don't think the two things are the same. Jammers only talk about their plots to create mischief, they don't actually take action against the village, or attempt to escape!
    Anyway the script for Don't Get Yoruself Killed turned into fools gold, and I feel that the Prisoner series would not have been made all the stronger for this scripts inclusion.. However having said that, I found the script worked rather well, certainly better than that of Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, and was quite eerie with the re-education lectures, and I liked very much the slogan "Individuality is the expression of revolt against the community," such a slogan would have fitted in nicley in the episode A Change of Mind!
   There were also several ideas floating about at the time for further scripts for the Prisoner, such as a Magicin coming to the village along with a funfair. And when No.6 is placed inside the Magician magic cabinet.....No.6 disappears!
   Next time there's some "pilot error" in the second unused script the Outsider by Moris Farhi.
I'm Piet Hein

Sunday, 3 April 2011

They Will Get Me Eventually - Wherever I go!

   "They will get me eventually, wherever I go" are the final words spoken by the retiring No.2 in It's Your Funeral. Is that why at the end of that episode, the new no.2 was surprised to see the departing helicopter suddenly turn back towards the village? Perhaps the departing No.2 thought about it, and wasn't prepared to escape the village, and then be constantly looking over his shoulder.
   But it does take time, to find someone you know, sometimes it's so difficult they have to employ other means, and other people. Take No.73 for example. She was brought to the village because 'they' couldn't find her husband, and so expected 73 to talk, to tell them where 'they' could find her husband. 73 told No.2 that her husband was still over there, wherever 'there' is, behind the Iron Curtain presumably, depending of course on which side of the Iron Curtain you're on to begin with! But it would seem that 'they' knew that 73's husband was with the woman Mariah, No.2 has a photograph of the pair together. So if 'they' had the photograph, presumably 'they' also knew where No.73's husband was. So why not simply wait until her husband goes to see Mariah agan, and pick him up then?
    Professor Jacob Seltzman is another fellow 'they' had problems finding. Only this time they employed No.6 to find Professor Seltzman. And to make sure No.6 co-oporated, 'they' put him through a mind transference process. In other words, fail in the task, and the Prisoner's mind would remain inside the Colonel's body for the rest of his life, and vice versa. Well that's the impression given, although to put things right between the Prisoner and the Colonel, all that had to be done was to put them through the same mind transference process they were original put through. I mean it's hardly rocket science is it!
I'm Piet Hein

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Ups And Downs

    Edgar Allen Poe had The Pit And The Pendulum, The Prisoner has the domed Control Room, and a steel See-Saw device! The Pendulum is seen as an intrument of torture during the time of the Spanish Inquision, and this tool was used to convey fear into the inhabitants of the land.. But can the steel See-Saw device of the village underworld, be seen as an intrument of torture? The definition of See-Saw is an up and down, back and forth movement, and I don't think that the two Observers who sit on either end of the See-Saw are being tortured. That fact of the matter is that the use of the Sea-Saw is a technique developed to help prolong the attention duration of an Observer. Usually the duratioin when security is monitoring screens is twenty minutes, then they fail to notice what is taking place on the monitors, and so after twenty minutes duration, it's time to take a break from the monitor.
   However, deep in the bowels of the village, beneath the village, in a cavern, the steel See-Saw device is put to a much darker use, as the two men sitting at either end of the See-Saw are armed with heavy machine guns! The purpose is to maintain security whilst the session is in progress, during the trial of three rebels during Fall Out. Only I have to say that the positioning of the heavy machine guns was not that effective. Oh they were fine when firing upwards, or on a level. But when it came to a target below them......well it was the depression you see, not enough downward depression!
    Only in the village could an innocent childs toy be employed to prolong Observers observational duration. Some might say that it evolves into a symbol of the unfair rise and fall of power, which ultimately becomes a symbol of war, rendering both death and destruction.
I'm Piet Hein

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Increase Vigilance Call From New No.2

    What's all this about an increase vigilance call from the new No.2? What's the village got to be afraid of? Who is No.2 afraid of? The village seems to be an idyllic place to live. If you give them what they want, they tend to leave you alone, and look after you, for as long as you live.
   I've seen them, citizens lounging about in bathing suits, bikinis, on the beach sunbathing, and playing beach ball, and around the swimming pool. Not actually in the swimming pool you understand, but in a boat in the swimming pool. Because the triangular swimming pool is made of stone and concrete, filled with water form the estuary, brrrrr that's gotta be ice cold to actually swim in! But the fact of the matter is, citizens of the village do get recreational time, in which to enjoy themselves. It's only those who defy the village administration, those who refuse to talk, that find life in the village hard and difficult. But I'm getting away from the point. Here is an article written by No.2 for The Tally Ho newspaper. Actually it's No.6's copy of the newspaper, you can tell that by the circled word with the question make over it.
   So, judging by what No.2 has written, he was paranoid long before the episode of Hammer Into Anvil came along. No.6 realised that, and simply played on that paranoia.
   "The security of the community must be protected," well that's fair enough, otherwise the way of life in the village might be gone forever. And then what would those citizens, born to the village, do, having known nothing but the village. The outside world would be as alien to them, as the village is for those who are brought there!
    No.2 goes on to say that "We must be constantly on our guard against enemies in our midst." Well who might they be, well No.6 obviously. No.2 also went on to say "We do not necessarily know where our enemies are, or who they might be. Therefore it is the duty of all of us to be on constant look out against traitors who, behind out back, seek to undermine and destroy us." Well No.6 again really. Yet under this description, No.2 finally placed No.14, his loyal assistant, whose only crime was wanting to help, to 'get on' in the village, and possibly achieving promotion to the position of No.2 one day. If only No.2 had placed his trust in the one real man No.2 could trust, No.14, then the outcome might have been different. Certainly an end could have been put to No.6's war of nerves with No.2. Mind you, I did think at one point that this No.2 might have got it right for once. That No.6 was actually a plant. Placed in the village to spy on them. After all John Drake of Danger Man was 'planted' in Colony Three, a typical English village behind the Iron Cutrain, and used for the training of agents to become typical Englishmen and women.

 I have often wondered what happened to this particular No.2, the hammer! Somehow I suspect he was not allowed to leave the village, certainly not in his broken state of mind. It's quite possible that this No.2 ended up residing in the phsychiatric ward of the Hospital!
 I wonder also who he was? Could he have been Thorpe from Many Happy Returns do you think? After all, there was no love lost between the Prisoner and Thorpe, who would, I'm sure at the time, have been an ideal candidate for the position of No.2. So who is to say that Thorpe was not recruited to the village as the new No.2? It might be that Thorpe would have taken great pleasure in being able to  'hammer' No.6!
   The only trouble is, there is no evidence of No.2 being the former Thorpe of a previous episode Many Happy Returns, only the fact that both roles are played by the same actor - Patrick Cargill. But of course there's no-one to stop me from my thinking that Thorpe and No.2 are one and the same. Even if the actor Patrick Cargill was still alive to say one way or the other! Although I do believe that Patrick Cragill understood that Thorpe and No.2 were not suppoosed to be the same character.
I'm Piet Hein